Ashley-backed Studio calls in administrators

Mike Ashley

Accrington-based home shopping firm Studio Retail Group plc (SRG) — formerly known as Findel — announced it will appoint administrators “as soon as reasonably practicable” after failing to secure a short-term loan of £25 million from its lending banks.

Studio Retail Group’s biggest shareholder at about 29% is listed as Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group.

AJ Bell Financial Analyst Danni Hewson speculated: “Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group is the biggest shareholder in Studio Retail with a 28.89% position and his tactic has often been to wait until a retailer goes into administration before pouncing with a cut-price deal.

“He’s a shrewd operator and would rather wait until a company is on its final breath before coming in with a lifesaving offer.”

Studio Retail Group said in a stock exchange statement: “As announced on 31st January, Studio has a surplus stockholding which requires additional working capital funding whilst this good quality stock is sold through to customers.

“The company requested a short-term loan of £25m from its lending banks to fund the surplus stockholding which it believed was sufficient to enable it to sell through the stock to customers.

“Following detailed discussions with our UK lenders, the company has not been able to reach agreement with them to provide the additional funding Studio requires.

“The board therefore now intends to file a notice of intention to appoint administrators to SRG and Studio Retail Limited, its wholly owned subsidiary, as soon as reasonably practicable.

“The board is taking this action to protect the interests of its creditors.

“Following consultation with the FCA, the company has requested that the listing of the company’s ordinary shares of 10 pence each be temporarily suspended with effect from 7.30 a.m. on 14 February 2022.

“Further announcements will be made as appropriate.”

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Mark McSherry
Dalriada Media LLC sites are edited by veteran news journalist Mark McSherry, a former staff editor and reporter with Reuters, Bloomberg and major newspapers including the South China Morning Post, London's Sunday Times and The Scotsman. McSherry's journalism has also appeared in The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Independent, The New York Times, London's Evening Standard and Forbes. McSherry is also a professor of journalism and communication arts in universities and colleges in New York City. Scottish-born McSherry has an MBA from the University of Edinburgh and a Certificate in Global Affairs from New York University.